Haven't signed up yet? Not to worry. Just click
HERE to download and
print a 2010 Holiday Potluck Reservation Card. Fill in the
information requested and send it to SDHS, PO Box 617, Douglas, MI
HOLIDAY GIFT SHOP
We are open
the three Saturdays & Sundays in December from 1 to 5 PM
Located at the Old School House, 130 Center Street, Douglas
Society Books with special Holiday discounts
Historical Maps & Photographs
New Old School House Coffee Mugs
with Woven Historical Saugatuck-Douglas Sites
and Douglas Coaster Sets
Sweat Shirts and Beach Bags
and more surprises
Come Visit and
information or to volunteer to help work in the shop, please
contact Jon Helmrich at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (269) 857-3574.
You've heard of bartenders and goal-tenders.
We need a nametag-tender.
The Society has a long and beloved history of
providing nametags at meetings and events. But without a little
supervision, this tradition could fade away.
Would anyone be interested in being the Tender
of the Nametags?
Responsibilities are limited to arriving early
to monthly meetings and events to assist members in finding their
nametags. You do NOT need to know everyone's name. After the meeting
or event, you'll spend a few minutes helping members get their tags
back into their file boxes safely.
For more information, REPLY to this email
contact Sally Winthers at
Don't be a
Be the SDHS nametag-tender!
VINTAGE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS
Share those special ornaments that are no longer making it to the
Donate to the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society and help us raise
money to continue special projects!
Other Vintage Holiday decorations also welcome.
For more information REPLY to this email or contact Marsha Kontio at
Visit the Holiday Gift Shop at the OSH in December and share in the
memories or purchase a vintage ornament for 2010.
FOOD, MEMORY AND OUR
In preparation for the 2011 exhibit, a team of society members is
compiling stories about food in Saugatuck, Douglas and the surrounding
Can you help us?
We are looking for recollections about the following topics:
If your family arrived in this area
in the settlement days, stories about how they hunted, farmed or prepared
Stories about the local
fishing, farming, and fruit-growing industries.
Information about foods served on local farms. How families got
by during the Depression and the War years. What foods did
people preserve? What did kids eat for lunch? What was a typical
breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Memories of local sweet
Tales of camping and picnicking. What was served at the camps?
What special foods
appeared at parties, social gatherings, and celebrations?
Stories about local restaurants and food-related businesses.
We need images too! Menus, labels, newspaper clippings, photos or
drawings of local restaurants, farms, picnickers, celebrations, etc,
will all help tell the story of our area’s special relationship with
Please send your recollections (or questions) to Sally Winthers at
or call (269) 543-2112.
"DAFFS FOR A DOZEN"
There are many "orphans" in our local cemeteries with no one to care
for them. As a special project, we will be planting daffodils at the
stones of a dozen (or more) of these folks whose family have either
moved away or died out.
Three people have already been selected, Elmer ("Whistling Bill")
Haselgren (1869-1932) and Isabella G. Hull (1829-1902) at Riverside
and Jacob Fox (1807-1871) at Douglas.
If you have suggestions for another nine lonely graves to get bulbs,
contact Chris Yoder at 857-4327, email
can be viewed through the
On-line Research Center on the SDHS web site.
WHAT YOU MISSED - A TOUR OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CAMP
SPOOKY OLD SCHOOL HOUSE
THE UPSCALE SALE IS
BACK FOR 2011!
Last year's very successful (and fun) Upscale Sale will be back in
is a reminder to set aside those great items you wish to donate for
the sale. As last year, the sale will feature high-quality items
such as antiques, framed art, collectables, jewelry, small-scale
furniture, toys and games, housewares and small appliances.
Donation collection will begin next May.
Donating is a great way to support the Society and receive a tax
additional information or questions about what items you can donate,
call (269) 857-5751.
THE DIPLOMAT FROM
SAUGATUCK-WARNER P. SUTTON (part one)
P. Sutton was a Saugatuck citizen with a noteworthy diplomatic career.
According to May Heath's book:
"Warner P. Sutton was born Oct. 16, 1849.
His father, Luther Sutton, and mother, Priscilla Jane
Bancroft, of Hartford, Conn., both came of pioneer stock, and
settled in Michigan in 1830.
"As a young man Mr. Sutton taught school in
Watervliet and Ludington. In 1875 he came to Saugatuck as
superintendent of the schools, where he taught three years and
graduated the first class in 1878, and that year through his
friend, Senator Thomas White Ferry, he received appointment as
Consular Agent at Matamoros, Mexico; he later became Consul
and then Consul General at Nuevo Laredo. Mexico, serving in
these offices for fifteen years, 1878 to 1893, during the
terms of Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland and Harrison.
"During the Spanish-American War he served
under General Miles in Porto Rico after which he retired,
living in Saugatuck at his home "The Beeches". Soon, however,
he became an invalid from a stroke and he and Mrs. Sutton went
to Madison,, Ohio, where in 1913 he died."
daughter Ethel Felice Sutton Kimball, wrote biographical sketches
about both parents and the SDHS has obtained copies from the Madison
Ohio Historical Society. In a 1969 text on her father, Edith wrote of
their summer vacations in Saugatuck from Mexico:
"Then, via Chicago and Alton to Chicago;
and there by boat across Lake Michigan to a port near
Saugatuck and our home, "The Beeches." Papa had bought this
place when he was teaching there. He kept it always. It was a
place of happiness. Two huge beech trees, said to be two
hundred years old, were in the front.
"The Beeches" (now the Beechwood Inn) on Pleasant Street
"The house was on a high bluff overlooking
the Kalamazoo Lake with the bridge to Douglas. At the shore of
the lake, we kept our boats moored at a little dock: a small
motorboat, a St. Lawrence skiff, and a canoe.
"In these boats, we would ride down the
winding Kalamazoo River several miles to Lake Michigan. Some
of us would walk through the woods and over Bald Head (the
highest sand dune). On these walks, we had our lessons in
knowing trees and shrubs and plants -- all new to us.
"The summer in Saugatuck was something to
dream about when we were in Mexico, and a joyful time to live
when we were there. Strawberries, every kind of berry, apples,
pears, peaches, and grapes -- no other fruit could compare
with the Saugatuck fruit. And in Mexico, looking forward to
the trip, the Saugatuck fruit grew larger and more beautiful.
"One event occurred about twice in the
summer during the Saugatuck vacations. It stands out above the
many other delightful days. Papa would say: "Today I will cook
a beefsteak for you!" That was just the beginning: First, we
had to go down the hill to the village to Fritz Walz's Butcher
Shop. Then Papa went into the cooler, where he selected just
the piece that he wanted; then he supervised the cutting and
trimming. And we all went back up the hill with our "prize
"It took all of us to wait on Papa: one to
get the "spider" (frying pan), another to get one tool,
another to bring the seasoning. It was a real production. At
last the steak was perfectly cooked and on the platter. The
rest of the dinner might be overcooked or cold by that time,
but the steak, that was the star we had all anticipated."
"Mama enjoyed cooking, something she never
did in Mexico. She had a natural talent. Everything tasted
good. We were taught to eat all kinds of food. If we didn't
like it, at least we ate a little; and we learned to like most
"In Saugatuck, the Sutton relatives came
from Hartford for a visit, also the Andrus families, and many
friends. The house was always full and lively. In later years,
our college friends came. And there were many interests:
fishing, swimming, boating, picnics, etc. It was a happy place
to be and to remember."
be continued in the December Newsletter)
--- submitted by Chris Yoder
MEMORIES OF MAY FRANCIS HEATH:
May Heath goes to Florida
Today it's very common for Michiganders to go to Florida or
Arizona for the winter. We even have a name for them,
"Snowbirds". One hundred years ago, this experience was a rare
The November 3, 1905 Commercial Record reported: "Mrs.
John Francis and Mrs. D. A. Heath and children, also Ernest
Crowe expect to leave Monday for Eustis, Florida, to spend the
winter. A large party has been organized by Capt. Coates to
make this trip the most of whom will go from Benton Harbor but
all in the same special car." Capt. Coates, a
long-time Great Lakes ship captain, was May's brother-in-law,
having married Doc's sister Florence. They were not the first
locals to winter in Florida. Both the A. B. Taylors and the
Miller Robinsons had done so.
May wrote a long letter back to her Saugatuck friends which
appeared in the Commercial Record, March 2, 1906. She
commented on the ideal weather, the cordial locals who had
welcomed "people from nearly every state in the Union", and
"the many excursions, picnics, fish-frys, home parties and
A "great freeze" had hit the area in 1895, and May writes
about the "grand old places, large 15 and 30 room houses,
which were simply deserted, the owners taking what they could
and fleeing for the North, for the freeze fell heavily upon
this part of Florida. In one night the thermometer fell fifty
degrees and thousands of orange groves were ruined ---"
"But Florida is beginning to boom" she writes, and tells of
the old places being bought "for a song" by Northerners. One
example was a place that had just sold for $800, with 300
acres of land, some timbered, and a large hotel built as a
sanitarium at a cost of $90,000.
May was to spend many winters in Florida, keeping an active
club life of art and bridge. Each year, she entertained a host
of fellow Saugatuck citizens, many of whom were also now among
the "Snow-birds". May's final stay in 1961 was in Palm Beach,
and among her visitors was Ethel (Sutton) Kimball (daughter of
Warner P. Sutton) who had been one of the eight girls who
served at her wedding reception, 66 years before.
This series on Saugatuck Historian May Francis Heath (MFH)
will continue until the 50th anniversary of her death in
September, 2011. The MFH Study Group continues to seek
information, documents, photographs of May, her paintings, and
personal recollections of Mrs. Heath. If you have any to share
contact: Chris Yoder at 857-4327 or Marsha Kontio at